Gain Perspective from Dr. Hedy Lemar Walls

In recent years the Twin Cities has been one of the communities that our immigrant populations have chosen to live in and raise their families. Thousands of new immigrants have made their way to our state borders, while constant changes to immigration policy have made it an increasingly politicized issue.

Our immigrant community members are coming due to a multitude of reasons such as the civil unrest and violence in their countries, corruption of power, unsafe communities, persistent poverty and lack of economic opportunities. Many immigrants are looking for ways to provide a better life for their families.  

Minnesota and particularly the Twin Cities has always been promoted as a community that believes in “social justice.” We have always provided social services for those in need including our immigrants. Before COVID-19, the state provided funding to our YMCA to increase the level of services and supports for our immigrant communities within the “New American Welcome Centers.”  

The New American Welcome Centers created several years ago provide specialized support and resources for our new immigrant populations. The services include social services, employment referrals, medical assistance and more. As a socially responsible organization, the Y of the North will continue to promote social justice and serve our most vulnerable populations. We have expanded our services due to additional state funding.

There is an opportunity for all of us to get more educated and enlightened together through listening and learning on how to create better workplaces where all can thrive including new immigrant populations. The YMCA Equity Innovation Center is here for you to intentionally engage you in thought-provoking experiences and resources that will expand your knowledge and skills.